Quebec special effects artist found not guilty of corrupting morals
Published Saturday, December 22, 2012 6:16PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, December 23, 2012 10:06AM EST
A Quebec special effects artist was found not guilty of corrupting morals late Saturday, after a jury decided that his gory images had artistic merit.
The jury reached its verdict after two days of deliberations. Jurors -- seven women and five men -- had requested permission to continue deliberating past Saturday’s scheduled end time of 5:30 p.m. ET.
Remy Couture told reporters Saturday that the verdict was “like a 400-pound weight has been lifted.”
Couture, 35, had been charged with three counts of corrupting morals by making, possessing and distributing obscene material, in connection with short films posted to his website, InnerDepravity.com. The sexually explicit images included scenes of necrophilia and simulated rape.
During the two-week trial, court heard that Austrian police contacted Interpol about the material back in 2006. The international agency then forwarded the case on to Montreal police.
Montreal police arrested Couture in 2009.
The prosecution said Couture was charged due to the sexually charged nature of the material, and brought in witnesses to say such images could incite viewers to act out their contents.
The defence argued that Couture’s images were art.
The jury was tasked with determining first whether the material was obscene and, if so, if it had artistic merit.
After the verdict was read out, Couture called the trial “the most stressful thing I’ve ever had to go through in my life.”
When he was charged, Couture said he was using his skills as an effects and makeup artist to tell gory tales. He likened his work to a “fake diary of a serial killer.”
During his trial, Couture told court that his work was also supposed to showcase his skills as a special effects artist. Experts testified on his behalf that his work was in line with similar material in the genre of gory films.
"My objective was to create horror, plain and simple," Couture told court.
In her closing arguments, prosecutor Genevieve Dagenais admitted that the case was unique because there was no victim. However, her office believed that the images were not suitable for display online.
Prosecutor Michel Pennou argued that the material, which the Crown deemed violent pornography, “undermines fundamental values of Canadian society.”
On Saturday, Couture told reporters outside court that the verdict has confirmed his right to free expression.
With files from The Canadian Press